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Hong Kong shares fall as virus infections outside mainland China jump

Thu 20th February, 2020 9:02am
* Hang Seng down 0.2%, H-shares up 0.1%
    * New cases dip in China but up in Korea, two deaths in
Japan
    * Virus spreads more easily than previously
believed-researchers

    HONG KONG, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Hong Kong stocks ticked lower
on Thursday, as a rapid rise in new coronavirus cases outside
mainland China outweighed optimism over Beijing's
widely-anticipated interest rate cut.
 
** At the close of trade, the Hang Seng index  .HSI  was down
0.2% at 27,609.16. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index  .HSCE 
rose 0.1%.
 
** The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares
 .HSCIE  rose 0.5%, the IT sector  .HSCIIT  gained 0.4% and the
financial sector  .HSNF  was flat.
    
** China on Thursday reported a large drop in new virus cases.
However, the number of infections in South Korea jumped, while
Japan saw two deaths and researchers cautioned that the pathogen
spreads more easily than previously believed.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2AK0W3
    
** Lingering concerns that the epidemic is not yet contained
dragged Hong Kong stocks lower, said Francis Lun, chief
executive officer at GEO Securities. "It doesn't matter how much
stimulus you pour in, if the epidemic is not under control," he
said.  
  
** China cut the one-year loan prime rate  CNYLPR1Y=CFXS  by 10
basis points to 4.05% from 4.15%, while the five-year tenor
 CNYLPR5Y=CFXS  was reduced by 5 basis points to 4.75%, as
widely expected by analysts.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2AK0SS
    
** Steven Leung, executive director at UOB Kay Hian, said that
the 28,000 level presents technical resistance for the Hang Seng
and predicts the index will trade in a tight range in the coming
week.
    
** China's stock market hit fresh one-month highs on Thursday as
the central bank vowed support for the economy, which has been
hurt by the coronavirus outbreak.  .SS 
 
** Around the region, MSCI's Asia ex-Japan stock index
 .MIAPJ0000PUS  was weaker by 0.5%, while Japan's Nikkei index
 .N225  closed up 0.3%.
 
** The onshore yuan  CNY=CFXS  finished domestic trading at its
weakest level since Feb. 3 at 7.0153 per dollar. 
 
** About 1.58 billion Hang Seng index shares were traded. The
volume traded in the previous trading session was 1.47 billion.

 (Reporting by Noah Sin;Editing by Aditya Soni)
 ((Noah.Sin@thomsonreuters.com; +852 2841 5782; Reuters
Messaging: noah.sin.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net; Twitter: https://twitter.com/noah_sin))
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